Facing Off Against Counterfeit Online Pharmacies: Pfizer Launches New
Purchasing Website To Help Alleviate the Guesswork Around Buying Legitimate
Viagra® (sildenafil citrate) Online
NEW YORK -- May 06, 2013
To meet the needs of consumers who are increasingly going online to purchase
prescription medications, Pfizer today launched Viagra^® home delivery, a new
prescription-fulfillment website for Viagra^® (sildenafil citrate) tablets,
Pfizer’s most counterfeited medicine. The site, which is powered by
CVS/pharmacy and accessible through Viagra.com, offers men with erectile
dysfunction (ED) an opportunity to purchase Viagra online (with a valid
prescription) from a trusted source.
Counterfeit label maker
Counterfeit label maker
Fake online pharmacies and the products they sell are an escalating public
health threat. While the number of online pharmacies has increased in recent
years to meet consumer demand, a recent review by the National Association of
Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has shown that as few as 3 percent of websites
selling prescription drugs are legitimate pharmacies, and up to half offer
foreign or non-FDA-approved drugs.
“Through our ongoing analyses, we’ve seen how fake pharmacy websites can lure
consumers into buying counterfeit medicines with what seems to be an easy
purchasing experience, but it may be putting their health at risk,” said
Carmen Catizone, executive director of NABP. “We’re pleased to see companies
collaborating to develop and support solutions that will help patients obtain
legitimate prescription medications online.”
Pfizer’s new Viagra home delivery online offering can be accessed through
Viagra.com and includes comprehensive eCommerce functionality. With Viagra
home delivery, men with ED can submit a new Viagra prescription or refill an
existing one, estimate their co-pay in real-time, and check on the status of
their order, from the privacy of their homes. Free standard shipping is
available in the continental United States, and expedited shipping options are
available for a charge. CVS/pharmacy will handle all of the back-end
functions, including the authentication of all prescriptions. Its online
pharmacy, CVS.com, has received accreditation from the National Association of
Boards of Pharmacy’s VIPPS^® (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites^®)
Another way to buy safely is to look for other Verified Internet Pharmacy
Practice Sites^® (VIPPS^®). To become VIPPS^®-accredited, an online pharmacy
must meet several privacy, security and quality-assurance requirements. Buying
from a VIPPS^®-accredited site will help ensure patients are getting
legitimate medication and that personal health information is kept
“There are almost 24 million searches a year for Viagra online. By offering
men with ED convenient access and a legitimate alternative to purchase Viagra
online, our hope is that Pfizer will help rein in the distribution of fake ED
products,” said Victor Clavelli, senior director, marketing group leader,
Primary Care Business Unit.
The Risks of Fake Online Pharmacies and Counterfeit Medicines
With the proliferation of fake online pharmacies, it is important that
consumers know which sites are legitimate. After a recent review of more than
10,000 Internet outlets selling prescription drugs, NABP listed almost 97
percent of the sites as “Not Recommended” because they did not appear to meet
criteria for legitimate online pharmacies.
“When you look at the way these websites market themselves and the range of
drugs that are commonly featured, it’s almost as though the counterfeiters are
targeting men and the health conditions that affect them,” said Scott
Williams, MPA, senior vice president, Men’s Health Network, a national
nonprofit organization committed to improving the health and well-being of men
and their families. “Our organization is deeply concerned about the
proliferation of fake medicines sold online, and we applaud any efforts to
combat the scourge of counterfeit drugs.”
Consumers recognize the difficulty in distinguishing between legitimate and
fake pharmacies, yet they still may behave in ways that put them at risk of
receiving counterfeit medicines. A 2011 national survey of 1,000 men with ED
conducted by Harris Interactive, sponsored by NABP and Pfizer, found that more
than 4 in 5 men (82 percent) believe it is difficult to determine if an online
pharmacy is legitimate, yet more than 1 in 3 (36 percent) would consider
purchasing ED medicines based on an online search.
“We have seen counterfeit medicines manufactured in filthy and deplorable
conditions, yet some people do not realize the risks that this poses to their
health and safety, our top priority,” said Matthew Bassiur, vice president,
Pfizer Global Security. “Counterfeit medicines often contain the wrong or
incorrect levels of active ingredient, as well as potentially dangerous
contaminants. Samples of counterfeit Viagra tested by our labs have contained
pesticides, wallboard, commercial paint and printer ink. These findings
motivate us to continue our aggressive global efforts to stop those who prey
on unsuspecting patients.”
In 2011, Pfizer Global Security evaluated 22 websites appearing in the top
search results for the phrase “buy Viagra” and conducted chemical analysis of
the pills advertised as Pfizer’s Viagra that were ordered from these outlets.
The study found that about 80 percent of these pills were counterfeit, and
while the fake Viagra pills contained the active ingredient, sildenafil
citrate, the amount was only 30 percent to 50 percent of what was advertised.
About Viagra (sildenafil citrate)
Viagra was the first oral ED medication, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration in 1998. Viagra has been studied for more than 15 years in more
than 136 completed and ongoing clinical trials involving more than 23,000 men
with ED and has been proven to help many men, with all degrees of ED.
Important Safety Information
Do not take Viagra if you take nitrates, often prescribed for chest pain, as
this may cause a sudden, unsafe drop in blood pressure.
Discuss your general health status with your doctor to ensure that you are
healthy enough to engage in sexual activity. If you experience chest pain,
nausea, or any other discomforts during sex, seek immediate medical help.
In the rare event of an erection lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate
medical help to avoid long-term injury.
If you are older than age 65, or have serious liver or kidney problems, your
doctor may start you at the lowest dose (25 mg) of Viagra. If you are taking
protease inhibitors, such as for the treatment of HIV, your doctor may
recommend a 25 mg dose and may limit you to a maximum single dose of 25 mg of
Viagra in a 48-hour period.
In rare instances, men taking PDE5 inhibitors (oral erectile dysfunction
medicines, including Viagra) reported a sudden decrease or loss of vision. If
you experience sudden decrease or loss of vision, stop taking PDE5 inhibitors,
including Viagra, and call a doctor right away.
Sudden decrease or loss of hearing has been rarely reported in people taking
PDE5 inhibitors, including Viagra. It is not possible to determine whether
these events are related directly to the PDE5 inhibitors or to other factors.
If you experience sudden decrease or loss of hearing, stop taking Viagra and
contact a doctor right away.
If you have prostate problems or high blood pressure for which you take
medicines called alpha blockers, your doctor may start you on a lower dose of
Viagra should not be used with other treatments that cause erections. Viagra
should not be used with Revatio as Revatio contains sildenafil, the same
medicine found in Viagra.
Viagra does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
The most common side effects of Viagra are headache, facial flushing, and
upset stomach. Less commonly, bluish vision, blurred vision, or sensitivity to
light may briefly occur.
For patient insert and full prescribing information for Viagra, click here.
Pfizer Inc.: Working together for a healthier world^™
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to
people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the
standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and
manufacture of health care products. Our global portfolio includes medicines
and vaccines as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care
products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging
markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge
the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as
one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we
collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to
support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the
world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all
who rely on us. To learn more, please visit us at www.pfizer.com.
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